An old-school experience set in a beautiful world
Hello, first let me say thank you for agreeing to the interview as I and fans alike are excited for the game Chained Echoes.
1st Turn: I know some information about Deck13, the publisher doing this game who mightbe known for publishing Cross Code, but I couldn’t find much information about the main developer, Matthias Linda, other than that he is from Germany. Could you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to wanting to make Chained Echoes?
Answer: Oh I’m basically just a huge fan of JRPGs who happens to know a bit of coding and design. I’ve studied the unusual combination of Modern Japanese and Design before starting to work as a motion designer for some agencies. I’ve always been dreaming of creating my own JRPG, which is why I started a Kickstarter campaign and quit my job. Now I’m here several years later and about to release my first RPG.
2nd Turn: There is definitely an interesting world design and character designer, in my opinion. Both together seem to blend new and old aspects. Did you have a certain world /characters in mind when starting this game or did you let them be more free creative-wise? Feel free to talk about the artists themselves as well.
Answer: In terms of style, I went in the direction of some SNES RPGs and polished it up a bit. For example I used more colors, had more elaborate lighting effects and didn’t always follow the tile grid. Chained Echoes was supposed to look like a mixture of a 16- and 32-bit game, and I think it turned out pretty well.
For the key-visual I asked Yo Kanzawa, who has worked for several Japanese games. And towards the end of development, I had Andrew Silverman draw some backgrounds. A lot of the beautiful backgrounds you see in the beginning of the game came from him.
3rd Turn: The game takes place in a land called Valandis with war waging between its three kingdoms. Is there another important point about the story that you would like to convey to the player before they start playing?
Answer: The war between the three kingdoms is obviously the base setting. I don’t want to spoil too much here, but that’s definitely not the only topic Chained Echoes touches. In the playable demo on Steam we’ve already teased a few things. The demo shows the beginning of the game and it becomes obvious rather quickly that the war itself might be a prominent topic and a topic which will return and be present all the time but maybe there’s way more.
4th Turn: I know most developers tend to shy away from the missable aspect in RPGs nowadays, but I was curious to as you were inspired by the RPG era chock full of missables if you decided to put that in Chained Echoes.
Answer: Although I love 90s JRPG this doesn’t apply to all the gameplay aspects in them! Missable content is one of them. Or having content spread over several playthroughs… or having cryptic optional side stuff which you can’t complete without reading a guide online.
5th Turn: Will there be any romance or romantic aspects to the story? Feel free to discussas much as you want.
Answer: While romances are not a major topic, there are so many different characters that a bunch of them might have some things going on in one way or another. But it happens just naturally and I tried to use such aspects more to evolve characters and make them more believable and underline their personality.
6th Turn: This is multi-part question. It says the game will take about 30-40 hours on theSteam page. How many hours would you say it takes for completionists? Will there be anew game+? Any plans for DLC or multiple endings?
Answer: We’ve had players who were able to finish the main story in 25 hours, others needed more than twice that much. With all the side content to explore, phew, it is really hard to estimate. Probably 40 to 50 hours I’d say. But then again, don’t take it as the full truth as there are always players who will be faster and those who will take their time. I sure have ideas about possible additional content but right now I’m focused on finishing the game itself. And there is just one ending. I could have added more but there is a story I want to tell. And that’s pretty hard if you split it up among different endings.
7th Turn: As fellow lover of RPGs, I can definitely see a lot of influence from 90s RPGs. If I had to guess some games that inspired you, they would be Chrono Trigger and Xenogears. What is your favorite RPG past or present and why?
Answer: Oh yeah, 90s RPGs had a huge influence on me and Xenogears is definitely one of my favorite games. I think RPGs such as Suikoden 2, Terranigma or the Final Fantasy and Chrono games were very inspiring as well. When I was young, I used the RPG Maker tool to create role-playing games in the style of Final Fantasy 6 or Chrono Trigger. Of course I never finished any of these projects. It’s finally to change it!
8th Turn: Does the tentative timeline of “—-ber 2022” still stand? Do you expect any delays?
Answer: Yes, that still stands. Right now it doesn’t look like we have to delay it, fingers crossed it stays that way.
9th Turn: I know you are probably very busy, but what are you playing currently if you have time? Are there any games you are excited for?
Answer: I just finished Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and now I’m back on the nostalgia trip with the Return to Monkey Island. My most-wanted game is Final Fantasy XVI. The team seems to consist of Matsuno fanboys who is one of my favorite game directors. I’m also a FFXIV player so I have high expectations for the next entry.
10th Turn: Getting so close to the estimated release date, how do you feel about the overall product you created? Do you feel it went as you wanted? Anything you wish you knew ahead of time?
Answer: I’m very proud and really happy how the game shaped up in the end. Of course I had to change a few bits here and there during development. But since I was working alone I could easily change stuff on the go without having to get permissions or hold long discussions with anyone. Being my first game I learned a lot and I can’t wait to use it all on the next game.
Note to readers: More information including pre-orders of Chained Echoes can be accessed via Steam, Twitter, Facebook, Discord, and its official website.
I thank you again for taking the time to interview. I look forward to the game as the demo was promising.